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For a priceless show of avian acrobats

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Natural bird sanctuary: The Pathiramanal island, near Kumarakom. –
Natural bird sanctuary: The Pathiramanal island, near Kumarakom. –

Despite being one of the smallest parks in the country the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist’s paradise, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), which owns the sanctuary that is spread over 14 acres on the banks of Vembanad lake, has worked out plans for the renovation of the park.

Kumarakom had shot into fame after the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee holidayed at the backwater resort. The infrastructure facilities in this ‘small water world’ had been upgraded with the continuous stream of VVIP visits since then. But, but not much attention was paid to the conservation of the bird sanctuary.

Many feathered visitors who used to come from across the world to flock at the bird sanctuary had shifted to Pathiramamal, an enchanting island on the lake, and other adjoining places. This has forced the tourism authorities to act.

The KTDC has chalked out plans for the renovation and to thus restore the old glory of the bird sanctuary with the financial assistance from the Centre. The Kottayam Nature Society had been asked to prepare a master plan in this regard, says Chairman of the KTDC, Cherian Philip.

The months from June to August is the breeding season of resident wetland birds like Siberian stork, cormorants, darter, white ibis, egret, darter, heron and teal. The migratory birds like pintailed duck, garganey teal, spot billed duck, osprey, marsh harrier, steppey eagle flock at the sanctuary between November and May every year.

Three watch towers, including one for research purposes, will be set up inside the sanctuary for the bird watchers.

The landscape of the sanctuary is replete with mangrove forests, paddy fields and coconut groves. Blooming lilies enhance the beauty of the park and attracts a large number of tourists.

A cruise along the Vembanad lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. The KTDC has 40 waterfront cottages at the ‘Waterscapes’ resort at Kumarakom, the picturesque backwater destination.

S. Anil Radhakrishnan

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